In the latest development, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended that COVID vaccination be deferred by 3 months after recovery from the illness, and has recommended vaccinations for all lactating women, among others. These recommendations have been accepted by the Health Ministry.
Centre issues guidelines for vaccination of recovered COVID patients & lactating mothers
- Making a slew of suggestions, NEGVAC on Wednesday suggested vaccinations be deferred by three months from patients' discharge date from hospital for COVID-19 patients who had been given molecular antibodies or convalescent plasma.
- The panel recommended the same three-month delay for patients who had been affected with COVID after taking the first dose & before completion of the second dose of the vaccine.
- Further, NEGVAC suggested persons with other general illness that requires hospitalisation or ICU care to wait for 4-8 weeks before taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
- NEGVAC noted that an individual could donate blood 14 days after receiving the vaccine or testing negative for COVID if affected.
- The panel reiterated that inoculation was a must for lactating mothers while noting that the vaccination for pregnant women was being further deliberated by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunity (NTAGI).
- It also clarified that screening via Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) before vaccination was not required.
COVISHIELD interval between two doses to increase to 12-16 weeks
In May, NTAGI had revised the interval between doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks, based on 'emerging scientific evidence'. The panel, however, recommended no change to the interval between two doses of COVAXIN. The panel had also then stated that pregnant women may be offered a choice to take any COVID-19 vaccine and that lactating women were eligible for jabs any time after delivery. Serum Institute of India (SII) has announced that it will ramp up its manufacturing capacity to 10 crore doses per month by August.
COVID-19 vaccination in India
A total of 18,58,39,302 persons have been inoculated in India till now. The Union government has asserted that over 216 crore doses of vaccines will be manufactured in India between August and December. This includes COVISHIELD (75 crore doses), COVAXIN (55 crore doses), Bio E Sub Vaccine (30 crore doses), Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine (5 crore doses), SII-Novavax (20 crore doses), BB Nasal Vaccine (10 crore doses), Genova mRNA vaccine (6 crore doses) and Sputnik V (15.6 crore doses).